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Rally Poland (J) - 28-30 Jun 19

Posted: June 29, 2019 7:31 PM - 1265 Hits

Round 4 - 2019 European Rally Championship (ERC)
J - Counting Round of ERC Junior Championship

Live Results (Rally Poland 2019) | Also at: rally-base results & ewrc-results.com
ERC Rally Radio | European Rally Championship (ERC) - fiaerc.com
Event Website: Rally Poland (Rajd Polski)
Twitter: @FIAERC

First stage each day - Times are Ireland/UK
Free Practice - Fri - 07:00
Qualifying - Fri - 09:30
SS1 - Fri - 17:00
SS2 - Sat - 07:30
SS10 - Sun - 07:45

ERC event preview: PZM 76th Rally Poland

Posted: June 26, 2019 7:34 AM

The all-action FIA European Rally Championship heads to Poland next week (28-30 June) with one point separating title chasers ?ukaszHabaj, the home hero, and ERC1 Junior pacesetter Chris Ingram.

And with PZM 76th Rally Poland edition number 50 to count for ERC points, it’s fitting that not only is the championship battle tightly poised, the event’s appeal has attracted 102 entrants, the highest number since 1975, with 24 top-of-the-range R5 cars registered for the international section alone.

As well as counting for the ERC, the rally forms a Polish championship double-header, with points awarded on both days. It’s resulted in a strong turnout by home-grown drivers, including a trio of promising youngsters: Miko Marczyk, the RMSP leader, and R5 category newcomers Marcin S?obodzian and Kacper Wr?blewski. Tomasz Kasperczyk, second to Marczyk in the RMSP points, is also firmly in contention.

ERC Junior has 21 rising stars bidding to build experience and establish reputations. A full ERC Junior preview will be issued on Monday 24 June. Meanwhile, Polish driver Dariusz Polo?ski will be a contender for victory in the new-for-2019 Abarth Rally Cup with competitors also eligible for ERC2 points.

Organisers have worked hard to deliver a compact route of just 659 kilometres by reducing the length of the liaison sections between stages. There are 15 stages in total beginning with the first of three runs of the purpose-built Miko?ajki Arena stage, which drivers tackle in pairs, on Friday evening (28 June). Saturday’s itinerary features four stages run twice. On Sunday, there will be twin visits to three stages with the Miko?ajki Max stage starting in the arena this year rather than finishing in it, as was the case in 2018. The event starts and finishes in Miko?ajki’s Main Square.

Rally Poland in 100 words
One of the world’s oldest rallies returned to the ERC roster in 2018 after a five-year break as Rally Poland replaced Rally Rzeszow as the country’s round of the European championship for its 75th edition. First run in 1921, Rally Poland’s home since 2005 has been Miko?ajki in the picturesque Masurian lake district, a three-hour drive north from the capital Warsaw, where high-speed all-gravel stages are commonplace. And it was in Miko?ajki where Kajetan Kajetanowicz first emerged as a major force in the ERC, taking the event win in 2013 prior to beginning his record-breaking title treble sequence in 2015.

What’s new for 2019?
A reduction in the length of the liaison sections has meant for a compact route of 659 kilometres. The Miko?ajki Max stage, used twice on leg two, starts in the arena this year rather than finishing in it, as was the case in 2018. Having run in early autumn last year, the event gets a fan-friendly summer date in 2019.

Changes to the ERC include the renaming of the ERC Junior categories: ERC Junior Under 28 becomes ERC1 Junior, ERC Junior U27 becomes ERC3 Junior with continued support from Pirelli. Meanwhile, R4-K and RGT cars are eligible for ERC2 points, the Abarth Rally Cup will be contested over six ERC rounds, while Rally Hungary joins the calendar for the first time as the deciding round in November.

Talking points
*Home hero ?ukasz Habaj heads the bulging entry but admits to being torn between bidding for a second ERC win of the season and focusing on preserving his ERC title lead, which stands at one point over ERC1 Junior leader Chris Ingram after three rounds. Ingram took his first international podium in Poland last year with a strong third place.
*Alexey Lukyanuk secured his maiden FIA European Rally Championship in Miko?ajki last season, despite his high-speed crash on the opening leg. Having landed his first finish of 2019 in Latvia in late May, the Russian will be keen to continue that momentum as he aims to defend his crown.
*Miko Marczyk, the Polish championship (RMSP) leader, is bidding to improve on his fifth place overall from 2018, while R5 category newcomers and fellow Polish rising talents, Marcin S?obodzian and Kacper Wr?blewski will also be eager to impress, as will Tomasz Kasperczyk, second to Marczyk in the RMSP.
*Kasperczyk, a former ERC Junior regular, and Marczyk have taken a win apiece in the RMSP this year.
*ACCR Czech Rally Team’s Filip Mareš returns to Poland – where he made his first start on gravel in an R5 car – on a high following his breakthrough Czech championship victory recently.
*Double ERC Junior champion and fourth seed Marijan Griebel is a Rally Poland newcomer. The German will be hoping for change of fortune after a luckless start to his season.
*Other event newcomers include ERC1 Junior contenders Mattias Adielsson and Hiroki Arai, plus Lithuanian talent Vaidotas Žala, who was rapid on his ERC debut in Latvia last month.
*Albert von Thurn und Taxis is also new to the high-speed stages in Masuria after a back injury kept him on the sidelines in 2018. The German will be armed with a Volkswagen Polo GTI R5, which is the car of choice for multiple Hungarian champion, MOL Racing Team’s Norbert Herczig.
*With a strong pedigree in production-based machinery, Lithuania’s Vytautas Švedas is set to make his first ERC start in a Polo, which he recently acquired.
*After missing the last two ERC rounds, Aloísio Monteiro returns to partner ERC3 Junior Pedro Antunes in the two-strong FPAK Portugal Team ERC line-up. Like Monteiro, Brazilian Paulo Nobre will rely on ŠKODA Fabia R5 power.
*Having co-driven Kajetan Kajetanowicz to a record three consecutive European championship titles, Jarek Baran is set for his first ERC start since 2017 when he links up with former world championship regular turned cross-country star Aron Dom?a?a. It will be their second event together after they finished second on a practice event in Lithuania earlier this month with Toni Gardemeister’s TGS Worldwide team.
*In a late change to the entry, Mikko Lukka will take over from Antti Linnaketo as Jari Huttunen’s co-driver as Huttunen returns for a second crack at winning Rally Poland having come within 8.3s in 2018.
*Juan Carlos Alonso is back to fight for ERC2 points and will face opposition from Zelindo Melegari, Kuwaiti Mshari Althefiri – second on his ERC2 debut in Latvia – and Russian Dmitry Fefanov.
*Abarth Rally Cup contenders Dariusz Polo?ski and Andrea Nucita will also chase ERC2 points.
*As on Rally Liep?ja, the popularity of the ERC3 category is once again demonstrated with a 19-strong entry, including 16 in the Pirelli-supported ERC3 Junior division.
*Florian Bernardi will make his gravel debut bidding for his second ERC3 win of 2019 following his Rally Islas Canarias triumph last month.
*Like Bernardi, American ex-sportscar racer Sean Johnston – who made his ERC debut in Poland last September – and Pole Tomasz Zbroja aren’t eligible for ERC3 Junior points.
*But of the 16 that are, Rally Team Spain’s Efrén Llarena heads the category from Sindre Furuseth and FPAK Portugal Team ERC’s Pedro Antunes.
*Llarena came close to winning the class in Poland last September, just losing out in a thrilling battle with Tom Kristensson, now a contender in the Junior world championship.
*Estonian Ken Torn, who won on his ERC3 Junior debut on Rally Liep?ja last month in a Ford Fiesta R2T, and Norwegian Steve Røkland will be in the thick of the victory battle, with Røkland finishing third behind Torn and Furuseth in Latvia. A full ERC Junior preview highlighting all the contenders will be issued separately.

Expert views

?ukasz Habaj (Poland) Sports Racing Technologies ŠKODA Fabia R5:
“I would like to continue the success story of other Poles who have won Rally Poland, but I need to focus on the championship standings at the same time. This is my ultimate goal – to stay on the top of the leaderboard until the end of the ERC season. Winning this event is a dream to me and I think I am able to achieve it. My plan is to drive fast and show consistent pace right from the beginning of the event. However, I will not go out on a limb. We want to be in the game for the victory, because it seems to be a pretty realistic goal. Nevertheless, I won’t even try to judge our chances as a percentage.”

Krzysztof Ho?owczyc (Poland) Three-time winner, former ERC champion:
“The Masurian gravel roads are literally magic. You will not find this magic anywhere else. The stages are very fast, yet pretty safe, as they run mostly through open areas. Experienced drivers claim that this is very nice rally and its headquarters in Miko?ajki is an invaluable asset.”

Jari Huttunen (Finland) Hyundai Motorsport N Hyundai i20 R5:
“It’s a really nice rally with fast roads. I want to win after last year, but I know it will be difficult to do so because the competition is high.I enjoy driving the Hyundai i20 R5, especially on Rally Poland where the speed and performance of the car is strong. It is my job to show this but, as with every rally, I start with the aim to win and I will do my best to do so. I am also grateful to Hyundai Motorsport for giving me this extra opportunity to get some seat time on a high-speed gravel rally.”

Elias Lundberg (Sweden) ADAC Opel Rallye Junior Team Opel ADAM R2:
“After a tough first half of the season we are hoping for a more trouble-free second half. Because this is what it takes to be successful in this highly competitive championship. Little problems, little mistakes, high speed – that’s the simple key, otherwise you won’t win anything in the FIA ERC3 Junior Championship. We have no previous experience from Poland so we will try to learn as much as possible as quickly as possible together with our ADAC Opel Rallye Junior Team and hopefully the sandy stages in Poland will suit us.”

Miko Marczyk (Poland) ŠKODA Polska Motorsport ŠKODA Fabia R5:
“Of course, the priority is the Polish championship and with double points on Rally Poland it’s really important to be at the finish and be in the game. But I don’t want to think a lot about the points. I would like to have fun and be the best version of me as a driver that I can.Rally Poland last year was only my second event on gravel and I’ve not driven on gravel since then. The competition in the ERC is really high, but I hope I can use my knowledge and experience of last year to be a little more competitive and fight closer with the ERC guys. But I also need to stay calm, drive at my pace and not be over-pushing from the start.”

Head to head: Furuseth v Røkland
Following their exciting battle for second in class on Rally Liep?ja, Norwegians Sindre Furuseth and Steve Røkland will continue their pursuit of success in the Pirelli-supported FIA ERC3 Junior Championship on PZM 76th Rally Poland. Both are newcomers to the Miko?ajki event, but with high-speed gravel stages very much their natural habitat, Furuseth and Røkland have what it takes to bid for the category win.

Form guide: Vaidotas Žala
After showing pace in abundance on his ERC debut in Latvia, Lithuanian high-flyer Vaidotas Žala makes his first Rally Poland start on top form after winning the most recent round of his national championship. Žala scored seven top-six stage times on Rally Liep?ja and would have challenged for a top-five finish had it not been for a time-consuming puncture on the third stage of the high-speed gravel event.

How to follow?
On TV and online: Live coverage of selected stages on Facebook. Daily highlights on Eurosport, Eurosport Player. Videos on YouTube. ERC All Access on Eurosport on 2 July. Event highlights broadcast around the world.
Videos, news update and live timing: Available at FIAERC.com
ERC Radio: Live from the end of all stages and selected service park visits. Available at FIAERC.com or download the official ERC App
Social media: Follow the ERC on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter
Daily news feed: Available on request by emailingmedia@fiaerc.com

Don’t miss! Huttunen aiming high on ERC Rally Poland
Jari Huttunen is returning to the FIA European Rally Championship in Poland to chase the win that got away from him last season. Runner-up in the ERC3 Junior rankings in 2017, Huttunen will drive in a 2Brally-prepared Hyundai i20 R5 under the Hyundai Motorsport N banner on PZM 76th Rally Poland. The 25-year-old came within 8.3s of claiming victory on the high-speed gravel event last September after a time penalty in the closing stages and a final-stage puncture – the result of his charging recovery drive – restricted him to second place behind Nikolay Gryazin. Click to view press release.

Abarth Rally Cup battle continues on Rally Poland
The Abarth Rally Cup, which began on Rally Islas Canarias in early May, runs in conjunction with the FIA European Rally Championship in 2019, bringing together the hugely exciting one-make series and the leading regional competition promoted by Eurosport Events under a long-term agreement with motorsport’s world governing body. Contested over six rounds of the eight-event ERC, the Abarth Rally Cup is open to competitors using the enhanced-for-2019 Abarth 124 rally, the lightweight, rear-wheel-drive Italian sportscar, which conforms to the FIA’s R-GT category technical regulations. And following the FIA World Motor Sport Council’s decision on 5 December to allow R-GT cars to take part in the revitalised ERC2 category, Abarth Rally Cup drivers are eligible for points in the popular showroom class, while also chasing an attractive round-by-round and end-of-season prize fund. On each round the following prize fund is offered: First position: €12,000;Second position: €10,000; Third position: €8,000;Fourth position: €4,000 plus four Pirelli tyres. At the end of the season the Abarth Rally Cup winner receives a final prize of €30,000. Andrea Nucita and Polish driver Dariusz Polo?ski are in contention for Abarth Rally Cup honours on PZM 76th Rally Poland with Nucita winning the last round in Latvia.

Marczyk is a man with a plan on ERC return
Miko Marczyk won’t just be trying to extend his lead at the top of the Polish championship standings when he contests the ERC-counting PZM 76th Rally Poland.The 23-year-old, who claimed his first national championship event win in a fine fifth overall on Rally Poland last September, is back in his ŠKODA Polska Motorsport Fabia R5 and ready to compare his pace with his rivals from the FIA European Rally Championship.After the opening two rounds of the Polish championship, Marczyk is first ahead of fellow young promise Tomasz Kasperczyk and ready to chase more success on the high-speed gravel stages of the Masuria lake district in northern Poland. Click to view press release.

Seven teams battle for ERC Nations’ Cup story
Seven teams will battle for success in the ERC Nations’ Cup on PZM 76th Rally Poland. ACCR Czech Rally Team I, ACCR Czech Rally Team II, ADAC Opel Rallye Junior Team, Estonian Autosport Junior Team, FPAK Portugal Team ERC, Rally Team Spain and Sweden National Team are all backed by their respective ASNs or automobile federations.

‘Homesick’ Kasperczyk in ERC return
Tomasz Kasperczyk can’t wait to contest PZM 76th Rally Poland – because he’s missing the FIA European Rally Championship. Kasperczyk has been a regular in the ERC1 Junior category in recent seasons but is focusing his efforts on the Polish championship in 2019, in which he’s currently running in second place after winning the most recent round. “To be honest, I miss the ERC,” said the 26-year-old. “On the other hand, I am focused on the Polish Rally Championship [this season] and it seems that this approach is paying off. We’ve had a pretty good start and only Miko Marczyk has scored more points, but we are working to change this situation.”

Five facts:
1: Run for the first time in 1921 from the capital Warsaw over a 576-kilometre route to Bia?owieza, Rally Poland turned 75 in 2018, making it the second oldest rally in the world behind Rallye Monte-Carlo.
2: A founding round of the world championship in 1973 when current FIA President Jean Todt co-drove Achim Warmbold to victory on what was then a Tarmac event, Rally Poland’s ERC links date back to 1960 when German pair Walter Schock-Moll and Rolf Moll triumphed in a Mercedes-Benz 220 SE.
3: Miko?ajki in the picturesque Masurian lake district has been Rally Poland’s base since 2005, which marked the event’s switch from asphalt to gravel stages.
4: A three-hour drive north of Warsaw, Miko?ajki is home to the gigantic Hotel Go??biewski, which doubles as event HQ and has grounds large enough to accommodate the rally’s service park and superspecial stage, the Miko?ajki Arena.
5: Pole Sobies?aw Zasada, who became outright ERC champion in 1971 after taking two category titles in the 1960s, is the most successful driver in Rally Poland history with four wins.

Entry List

Posted: June 26, 2019 7:27 AM

Rally Guide / Event Details / Website

Posted: May 20, 2019 7:05 AM

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